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GPC to submit mass resignations once 60% of practices opt in

The GPC in Northern Ireland will start collecting resignations from GP practices next week following a historic vote earlier today.

Speaking with Pulse after the meeting GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black said once they had reached a critical mass of 60% of practice resignations ‘we will step outside the NHS’.

The move, which will see GPs leave the NHS and potentially charging around £45 for appointments, was supported by 97% of BMA members who attended a series of meetings at the end of 2016.

He said the vote by GPC members had been unanimous but there was a lot of anger that ‘GPs were being forced out of the NHS’.

Practices would essentially be giving notice so there would be a six-month period where the GPC would develop the ‘Plan B’ in full to decide details on charging for appointments and around staff, pensions and indemnity.

There are currently 343 GP practices in Northern Ireland and all partners in the practice must agree before submitting undated resignations, because the practice and not individual GPs hold the contracts. 

The GPC has called for an urgent meeting with the health minister to discuss the issue.

This is one of the most radical measures ever proposed by GP leaders in the UK, in response to the ‘collapse’ of general practice in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland GPC chair Tom Black said.

‘The Department of Health and the Government have failed the health service,’ Dr Black said.

NIGPC chair Dr Tom Black said the decision to proceed with undated resignations was taken ’with deep regret’.

’General practice is on the brink in Northern Ireland and we feel we have no alternative to proceed with collecting undated resignations from our members,’ said Dr Black.

’Continued inaction to save general practice has forced us into this situation. The work of the Northern Ireland government may have stalled, but the need to provide safe and efficient healthcare to patients has not stalled. General practice is being delivered under unsustainable conditions that we can no longer tolerate.’

 A statement from the NI GPC said it was calling for:

  • Investment of 10% of the Northern Ireland healthcare budget on a safe, sustainable GP service for patients;
  • Training and recruitment of more GPs so practices at risk of closure can stay open and meet the needs of patients
  • Reducing bureaucracy and improve IT systems so more time can be spent providing care to patients.

 

Readers' comments (53)

  • Thank you GPC NI for heralding a new dawn for Primary Care.

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  • Courage shown by excellent leaders. Well done NI GPC.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Congratulations N Ireland GPC! Having Ireland as your neighbour showed you how both patients and GPs can benefit outside of the NHS in a free market and not under a monopoly employer. Now come on England and grow some balls! You know the senior GPs may be trying to keep you as slave workers to top up their million pound gold plated NHS pensions with its 10 year protected status from 2012. Don't accept concessions, slave labour, is slave labour. Emancipation will end burnout in our profession.

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  • If successful all UK GPs shuold adopt this policy , now we know what value J.Hunt and T.May place on GPs - it is the only way we can get our professional respect & self respect back. You have my full support NI GPs.

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  • At last someone has had the courage to do what needs to be done.

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  • Good luck to the Northern Ireland GPs. I hope that your leap of faith will show us all the way forward. As far as I am concerned this news gives me more hope than any announcement from Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt or NHSE.

    To the English GPC (Dr Nagpaul et al): you are rapidly running out of wriggle room. The GPC will eventually have to step aside (or be moved aside) if it cannot protect the GPs that it says it represents.

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  • Bring it on in England!

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  • NI GPC, well done. I'll get the wheelbarrow and walk with you!

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  • The government would love you to resign . It is their dream scenario. The plan is being Beta tested in Northern Ireland and we will be next. The public in Stoke have been asked about the NHS in the run up to the by - election . At present they do not blame the government . We will carry the can if we resign . Do not fall into this carefully prepared trap. Pensions will be the least of your problems and it will take 2 years minimum to sort out. 1 month OOH ban would be far more effective than resigning .

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  • Makes me proud of the GPs back home --- way to go guys!

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  • Well done our Northern Irish colleagues.

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  • Well done Northern Ireland time for us to do the same

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  • Go go go NI
    It doesn't matter who the patients 'blame'
    They will value you a lot more when they start paying rather than all you can eat buffet they currently enjoy

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  • Agree Sam Izdat. NI GPs are walking into a 30 year laid trap to destroy the NHS. General practice is the cornerstone of hte NHS, which until 2010 was the best health care system in the world. Since 2010 there has been underfunding, cuts to funding, cuts to beds, community services, drastic cuts to mental health. Also cuts to general practice. This is the problem, not hte NHS. We all need more money adn to stop wasting billions of pounds every year on the internal and external markets and management consultants.

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  • It is sad that things are so bad in NI that the GPs have been forced into this but they have my wholehearted support and good wishes for the future!

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  • To those of you saying this is all part of the privatisation plan, you may well be right, but by staying in the system that is brutalising all of us what brilliant outcome are you expecting exactly?

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  • privatisation trap ? try Manchester's devolution take over of primary care by local government and local trusts --- is that going to save us all ???

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  • Facts, not opinions perhaps is best.
    A clear 50% funding cut to GPS in NI from 11 to 5.5 % of NHS funding. { at the same time as spending millions on pellet boilers for broilers!!].
    An increase in workload of 60%, all in 10 years.
    Folding practices in Enniskillen, Portadown, Glenarm.
    They are treating us like patsies and there are those that suggest that walking away from our Independent Contracts is a trap.
    Obviously, such folks would work for nothing, by the same principle.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    https://youtu.be/5uDSmPaFN6s From Pulsetoday to the houses of 2 million C5 news viewers. I made sure this breaking NI GP news would not be buried. The public need to know how hard GPs are working with a fraction of the funds they had before MPIG cuts. It is only a matter of time before they fight back and regain their self respect. And it is not just general practice, a junior doctor has been made to work 22 days in a row without a day off! How long before hospital doctors crack too?

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  • Council of Despair

    Good luck NI GPs !

    Think you are doing the right thing as agree there is no alternative - this is the only option to ensure that there is a General Practice service.

    some believe it is a trap but as has been rightly pointed out - there is no choice as with current funding practices will collapse so there is either going to be no service at all or Plan B. The public will not blame GPs - they will blame the politicians who forced GPs down this route.

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  • In a demonstration of collective will boycott all OOH work for 1 month. It will show politicians that we do work at weekends and that without this input all is chaos. It is not simply a question of charging patients for our services ( inexpensive as they are ) but will mean high medication charges and admission rates for hospitals . Theresa Mays remarks are meant to goad us into an ill thought out response to a carefully created strategy. Starving public services of resources is a classic way of undermining them ,then selling them off. I am sure we can shrug off the blame but can the patients so easily shrug the drug costs ?

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  • @ Una: You sure have instincts. It's 24 hours since this historic vote and there is complete silence this morning in the media including BBC & ITV. The media seem to have a trigger on their bottoms preventing them from broadcasting this bit of news that may have a revolutionary negative impact on the lives of millions in this country.
    Presstitutes forever.

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  • 'In a demonstration of collective will boycott all OOH work for 1 month.'
    OOH work is not equally distributed between working GPs. Some specialise in doing a high proportion of OOH work, others do none given the full 'in hours' workloads. Why call for a small proportion of the workforce to take all the financial pain to help those in day time practices?

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  • Well done GPC NI! No more consultations from uncurable heartsinks, no more social consultations, no more NHS political drives, policies, unfair funding and problematic contracts etc.You will finally get your life back!

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  • NO to heartsink comments. Even those owning premises will survive though intitially you've got to brace for an incubation period where you have to be able to digest the loss of rent and develop a client base.
    GPs with good skills and reputation of being caring and thorough will survive anything. Most of us have those skills. If we have survived a brutal onslaught by Cameron, Hunt and NHSE stooges for years, we'll survive anything. Confidence, colleagues, the time for reckoning for English GPs is nigh. Let's get together and go for it!

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  • Finally someone is actually doing something - well done NI, I hope you encourage more examples of deeds and not words.

    For those who think that this is playing into the hands of Hunt, just look back over the last year or two - do you really think anyone is ever coming to the rescue of general practice? We can stand together on this or we can quietly carry on giving up one by one.

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  • Charge of the light Brigade .

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  • The dentists got dumped on and walked....

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  • Spuds

    Sam Izdat - OOH ban would make no difference. Mostly done by salaried/sessionals or by nurses etc. Most GP principles don't do it. You're hardly going to get sessionals falling on their swords to save the Partners!

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  • "Forward the Light Brigade . Charge for the guns ! "

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  • Council of Despair

    Dr Sam Izdat | GP Partner/Principal26 Jan 2017 10:47am and fellow 'trapists' should read pulses other report to see where we are heading -

    http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/hot-topics/stop-practice-closures/gp-partners-forced-to-sell-medical-equipment-to-pay-for-costs-of-practice-closure/20033733.article

    it is very sad but this is the outcome if we do nothing. we face a stark choice NO SERVICES AT ALL or PLAN B.

    simply stating it is a trap doesn't help as it can't pay the bills.

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  • The light brigade did reach the guns and kill/disperse the Russian gunners.... just didn't get any support to consolidate

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  • This is all smoke, there would NOT be any mass resignation. First do mass resignation and then talk. Government is not going to budge with all these false threats. There is a difference between threatening and actually resigning.

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  • AlanAlmond

    I take my hat off to the folk in Northern Ireland, I hope it actually happens. I guess NI have a clear model to follow close at hand in Southern Ireland ..the change wouldn't be such a psychological wrench as would be the case in the rest of the UK - who simply aren't used to the idea of paying to see a GP. Even if this is a trap I can't see there is any other real choice. The people have voted in a government that doesn't want the current model to continue and it's unlikely the government or its approach will change anytime soon. If anyone believes there's anything good in what general practice is/once was...I can't see any other solution. It's either leave and preserve some of whats good or stay and watch it competitive destroyed, replaced by 24 hour WICs with no continuity of care.

    If we did this in the rest of the UK we will end up with a dual system. Publicly funded free at the point of delivery open access 24 hour drop in centres staffed by nurses, physicians assistants and the odd salaried GP, probably run by the likes of Virgin or the local Hospital vs private 'bespoke' GP practices used by those who can afford it. I don't believe the bulk of the general practitioner work force would be working within the private sector, not enough people would be prepared to pay and the Government would make it very difficult, and of cause there would be no end of shouting and blaming ....bring it on. It's either that or a complete end to what we now call General Practice. At least if we left some of it might survive.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    @Downtoearth you are right! Complete media boycott on news of the historic NI GPC vote to ditch the NHS GP contract. I even emailed the link to the BBC health editor. I wonder why government wants to keep this news hush, hush...? Afraid that English GPs will seek independence too from an untenable underfunded contract?

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  • You know, working as locum chambers and contracting out the work may not be a bad idea - that way we can control workload and pay.

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  • Before we get too carried away with this, lets see if 60% of NI practices vote to leave. Has anyone seen a viable plan B yet?
    I don't think this is a trap either. This government couldn't be an architect of any smart long term moves. They weren't even here when circumstances leading to his crisis were being created. They seem to have no strategy or view on anything besides their religion- trident.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Well done BBC NI and GPC NI! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38745621?post_id=10153575743171624_10154957021296624#_=_

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  • Dear Sam and Coral, I don't hear you proposing anything else more tangible? Its not a 'trap'- a trap implies something you cannot get out of. The GPs in NI are getting out of the trap which is for GPs to stay were they are working harder and and harder for less and less. Its sounds like you are both more trapped by your fear to leave the NHS. The government cannot keep your earned pension. There is nothing that states you must complete 'X' number of years. Ive been in and out of the NHS for years. Nothing to be frightened of. NHS needs us more than we need it!

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  • I really hope this is successful and then taken up in the rest of the uk.

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  • Dear Curious it has been a long term goal of the right to dismantle social institutions such as the NHS ,public education and the like . The " overton window " of what is politically possible has until recently not shifted far enough to make it possible but now people are thinking that it would acceptable to do away with these public services. Even as we were much poorer as a country we did not charge university fees as we do now. The beauty of a GP mass resignation for the right is that it gives a politically cost free opportunity to do it. The solution is for representatives of public institutions to become politically active. If people vote against maintaining their social services then they can have what they choose .

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  • oh but they have voted against social services - they voted in a tory government.

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  • 3 possible outcomes, 1 worse and 2 better than the status quo, all with major implications for England:
    1. Not enough GP resignations are collected. GPC backs down. General practice even weaker as a result, eventually collapses piecemeal and is replaced by a much inferior but cheaper service.
    2. NI Government recognises the level of threat and produces much improved terms and conditions. GPs accept gracefully, and back away from action. English government furious that threatened action has produced results. English GPC starts trying to remember where it left its backbone, and wondering whether to do the same. If it doesn't, individual LMCs start producing plans.
    3. NI Government doesn't produce better terms and conditions. GPs walk. 6 months of chaos as the details and laws are sorted out. Some practices fold, most continue. Government pays for poorest and most vulnerable 40% (who continue to see GP 7 times per year), everyone else pays (and attend GP twice a year). Financial resources flowing into general practice increase 40%, workload drops 40% - improving working conditions enormously. GPs grapple with consequences (positive and negative)of providing a (partly) consumer-driven service.
    The first sign of the NHS properly unravelling - why aren't the papers all over this?

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  • And your solution Sam?

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  • To save the NHS - if you think it is worth saving is to stand for election and carry the public with you .

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  • A single MP will not make any difference - it is a protest.

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  • BBC choosing to not run this story, it is not newsworthy because it is such a hot item, better to cover safer government spin outpourings

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  • Sam I doubt we're going to get the votes to get in..... unless you can get the RCGP to get a GP standing in EVERY constituency, which might be an idea, but even then we would just be raising the issue rather than realistically expecting the masses to vote for us..... the public are already against us thanks to the spin.... I really think that until they see what its like without us, they won't lift a finger to help us.....i do believe that letting the system collapse is the only way forward, its not fair to let young people with bright futures entered this doomed career as it is.... has anyone heard the vote result? I thought it would have been out by now?

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  • Council of Despair

    i'm really surprised that apart from a small mention in the bbc this story has been completely ignored.

    to put things in perspective the action that the GPC has been forced to take will lead to the end of the NHS in Northern Ireland. I would have thought that it would interest the public in the rest of the UK as if (as i'm sure they will) the NI GPs make a success out of leaving the NHS then it will set a precedent for the rest of the UK. This, to me, is a bigger story than Trumps wall?

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